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Americans Still Experience Strongest Inflation Where It Hurts Most

Due to inflation, rent is a problem for many Americans. Credit: Rawpixel

April 14, 2024 (EIRNS)—Despite the Biden Administration pointing to CPI inflation supposedly having dropped below wage growth, to a 3.5% annual rate as of the month of March, Americans continue to feel the grinding effects of a strong inflation now extended over more than three years. Reasons can be found in the categories of expenditure where inflation remains “hot”; these are expenditures constantly necessary to hundreds of millions of people.

An “highly acclaimed macro-economic writer” named Michael “Mish” Shedlock published a hypothesis April 7 on his website “MishTalk” that if President Biden loses his bid for re-election, the reason will be “rent.” According to Shedlock, the Consumer Price Index category of “rent of primary residence” has increased in cost by at least 0.4% in each of the past 30 months, meaning at least 6% annual inflation in nationwide rents for the past three years. Thus, rent has been rising in tandem with home prices, mortgages, and homeownership unaffordability, but at an even more rapid pace over 2022-23 and 2024 to date.

Not only does this affect the great majority of households; it also indicates a situation in which communities and/or cities where large numbers of immigrants have arrived in a short time, have no actual housing stock where these immigrants can stay.

Other areas of strong, continuing inflation are also near-universal needs. Despite the Inflation Reduction Act, a law specifically intended to shift electricity sources while increasing electricity use, and supposedly also reducing its cost, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) cost of electricity has increased by just about exactly 30% in the three-plus years Biden has been in the White House. The prices of gasoline and diesel fuel have each increased by 50% in that time, and gasoline has gone up again most recently by 3.8% in March. A further universal area is insurance, of which there are many categories; but to take one: The average U.S. rate for full auto insurance, across all ages, was 29% higher in 2023, at $2,019, than in 2021, when it was $1,567. Most of that jump took place between 2022 and 2023.